Fear is a powerful suppressant. It causes us to be silent when we need to speak and powerless when we need to be powerful. It allowed Adolf Hitler to murder millions and Israelites 20 years and older to die in the wilderness rather than enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14). Its consequences can be devastating.

Sophie Scholl may have been fearful, but it didn’t stop her. Though she was sent to the guillotine at age 21 for her opposition to Hitler’s Nazis, her memory lives on as an encouragement to our generation.  She and her brother, Hans, met their death on the same day with honor because they believed in a righteous cause. They were on the side of God, not of Nazi evil, and did His work to the end. They lived lives of moral courage for they knew not to was unthinkable.

The U.S. needs some present-day Sophie’s. We need individuals willing to live out Scripture not as we interpret it through the weakened lens of western Christianity but as was lived out by the disciples of Christ. They stood firmly and died honorably for a cause greater than themselves. They lived and breathed righteousness through imperfect lives because of their faith in Jesus Christ. For that, they suffered and were persecuted. As present-day Christians, should we expect any less?

It’s time for Christians in the U.S. to awaken from our slumber. We have been called to be salt and light yet darkness increases. Evil, or darkness, is simply the absence of light. Light dispels darkness. The light of believer’s lives should dispel darkness. The light isn’t to remain under the bowl (Matthew 5:15-16), it’s to be placed on the stand so that everyone can see. The darkness of our nation will only be overcome by the Light of Christ that we have been given to shine. I submit to you, it’s time to shine.

Standing for righteousness in a sin-filled world can create great fear; the cost may be high. On the other hand, standing before a righteous, holy, and just God that  commands me to “go and make disciples of all nations…and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20) raises that bar. It isn’t a suggestion; it’s a commandment. I’m to be a witness for Christ to this world regardless of the cost. Christ gave His all for me and I should be willing to give my all for Him (II Corinthians 5:15) and others.

I’m unable to do this in my own power as are you. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). At the same time, we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13). It won’t be easy because suffering may occur (I Peter 3:14-17). We may even be persecuted (II Timothy 3:12).

We may also be hated (John 15:18). Nonetheless, we are to Go into the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Mark 16:15). Again, it’s not a suggestion; it’s a commandment. Therefore, we must be strong and courageous, and neither afraid nor discouraged (Joshua 1:9). Why, because the Lord our God will be with us wherever we go.

Now is the time to arise and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The eternal future of many is in our hands. Our nation’s future is dependent upon us. Will we arise and say, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8)? Or, will we cower in fear of man and the cost to arise? The Lord is on our side. What can mere man do to us (Psalm 118:6)?

I’m no different than any other. I have my fears, I don’t care to suffer, and persecution isn’t on my bucket list. I’m neither Sophie Scholl nor the Apostle Paul. I’m a simple man given over to a desire to serve the loving God that saw fit to free me from my sin by imputing His righteousness to me.

I have been forgiven much; therefore, He has put it in me to love much (Luke 7:47). How can I do otherwise since the price He paid to ransom (Mark 10:45) me from eternal punishment was His life? Lord, give me the grace to be a light in the darkest corners of this nation.

What about you? I believe there’s a little bit of Sophie Scholl in each of us. She saw evil and stood up to a world dictator to oppose it. We, too, can stand. We must stand! We must go! Begin with your families or in your neighborhood. It’s not so much to whom we go but that we go. Only the gospel can transform hearts. Hearts transformed by Christ emanate righteousness, righteousness this nation needs.

To not stand and to not go in this hour isn’t an option. Sophie’s last words as she was led to the guillotine were, “It is such a splendid sunny day and I have to go.” Her mother’s last words to Sophie were, “Remember Jesus.” Sophie’s reply, “Yes. But you [remember him] too.” May her short life of 21 years move us to action in a manner worthy of her sacrifice and of our Lord.